Biden Taps Lawyer Mallory Stewart for US Arms Control Post

By Reuters
July 3, 2021Politics
Biden Taps Lawyer Mallory Stewart for US Arms Control Post
President Joe Biden holds a press conference after the U.S.-Russia summit in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 16, 2021. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden said on Friday he planned to nominate Mallory Stewart to be assistant secretary of state for arms control, a key job as Washington and Moscow contemplate a successor to the New START arms control treaty.

If confirmed by the Senate, Stewart, now a senior director on the White House National Security Council, would lead the State Department’s bureau of arms control, verification and compliance, the White House said in a statement.

The United States and Russia in February extended New START for five years. The treaty, which first went into effect in 2011, limits the United States and Russia to deploying no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads each and imposes restrictions on the land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.

Historically, the assistant secretary of state for arms control plays a central role in negotiating such accords.

At their June 16 Geneva summit, Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to begin “strategic stability” talks to “seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.”

Stewart, who previously worked in the bureau and as a State Department arms control attorney, was an architect of the U.S.-Russia Framework to eliminate Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile.

Syria, which joined the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW ) in 2013 to avert military intervention by the United States over an earlier chemical attack, has said it fully destroyed chemical weapons stockpiles declared to the agency.

However, an April 2020 report by OPCW investigators found Syrian military planes and a helicopter dropped banned sarin and chlorine bombs on the Syrian village of Ltamenah in March 2017.

By Arshad Mohammed

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